Annual “Holmen Professional Excellence Award” recipients announced at Waldorf College

Heather Jordon, Communications Director

 Two Waldorf College faculty and staff members were honored with one of the school’s most prestigious annual awards - the Holmen Professional Excellence Award. Professor Joe Wilkins, director of creative writing and assistant professor of English, and Brian Keely, director of campus dining/Aramark received the award at the annual faculty/staff recognition dinner on Friday, April 30.
Dr. Kenneth and Linda Holmen of St. Paul, Minn. fund the Holmen Professional Excellence Awards annually, in honor of his parents, Dr. and Mrs. Holger (Hap) Holmen. The late Hap Holmen served at Waldorf as a faculty member in the industrial technology department from 1949 to 1970 and was named Emeritus Professor of Industrial Education.
Dr. Joe Manjone, president of the college, read the following remarks about Wilkins: 
“Professor Wilkins is among America’s most vital young poets and essayists, publishing more than 50 poems and essays since arriving at Waldorf. His work has appeared in prestigious and wide-ranging publications, including the Harvard Review, the Mid-American Review, the Southern Review, the Georgia Review, Orion, and The Sun. Wilkins’ work is always inspiring and startlingly diverse, often exploring the blurred borders between memory and reality. With the forthcoming release of his first book of poetry and his recent selection as a finalist for the National Magazine Award in the essay category, Professor Wilkins is forcing his way to the fore of American public letters.
Meanwhile, Professor Wilkins has also done yeoman service to promote creative writing at Waldorf. The creation of Waldorf’s creative writing major, the promotion of Waldorf’s campus literary magazine, and the organization of Waldorf’s Visiting Writer Series are all his work and all are among the most vibrant such institutions on campus. Furthermore, his students consistently praise his teaching.”
Professor Wilkins completed his master of fine arts degree in creative writing at the University of Idaho and his bachelor of science degree in engineering at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash.
President Manjone presented the second award to Brian Keely, citing his “unwavering service to Waldorf College.  His remarks about Keely included:
“Brian has selflessly given his time and resources to Waldorf College for many years. He has always been willing to provide support campus-wide whether it be for punch and cookies at the last minute, helping facilities with renovations, or playing broomball with the students on the pond. Brian has given buckets of “sweat equity” toward making Waldorf College a better place….There are very few weekends and evenings when Brian is not here overseeing catering for an event or making dinner for the students.
He always goes above and beyond for all of the events he caters. His small personal touches show that he cares about the success of the event and also representing Waldorf in the best light possible.
Most of all, Brian has vision and is committed to improving campus dining to accommodate the needs and wants of the students. He has met with student senate, held focus groups, and been open to many suggestions in order to improve his service to the students of Waldorf College. The increased satisfaction as reported by the students is a direct result from Brian’s constant efforts.”
Brian received his bachelor of arts degree in business administration from Coe College in Cedar Rapids.
Located in Forest City, Iowa, Waldorf is a four-year, liberal arts college that delivers engaging experiences through innovative classroom instruction. The college offers residential and hybrid online bachelor’s degree programs including business, communication, music, psychology, theatre, education, fire science administration, criminal justice administration and more.